Rio Carnival Girls

Rio Carnival Girls
Rio Carnival Girls  Image: sfmission.com (flickr)

Rio Carnival girls are among the most iconic images of Brazil. Decked out in glittering costumes, these women dazzle spectators and appear in most Carnival parade photos. The most elaborate costumes that the Rio Carnival women wear feature plenty of plumage, the bulk of the feathers being part of a headdress and/or a heavy shoulder apparatus. The queens of the different samba schools' drum corps are the ones who tend to wear the most feathers. An ornate, sparkling bikini usually completes the outfit for the queens, who are often models, TV stars, or famous singers. In fact, when it comes down to it, bikini costumes are the outfits of choice for most of the Rio Carnival girls.

Carnival Girls
Carnival Girls

Once the samba music starts to play, the Rio Carnival women display their samba-dancing expertise. Their skills have been honed over many years, and the result is something that simply seems innate. The most iconic Rio Carnival girls perform in the main Carnival parades that are held at the Sambadome. These women are part of different samba schools, and the majority have been chosen by their respective schools to perform different roles. The queen of the bateria, or drum corps, is the supreme role, though it's still an honor to ride on one of the floats or walk among the passistas. The passistas walk and dance among the floats, and on many occasions, their costumes are on the skimpier side. Revealing outfits are basically the name of the game during Carnival time, and the most recognizable Rio carnival pictures attest to this. Brazilians in general aren't shy about showing some skin. A trip to Ipanema Beach or one of the city's other famed strips of sand will immediately make you aware of this.

Not all of the Rio Carnival women are scantily-clad. Some wear more complete costumes that follow along with their samba school's particular theme for the year. You might see a relatively large group of Rio Carnival girls from a certain school donning dresses that look something like what Snow White might wear, for instance. More often than not, however, lots of skin is showing, and it's not uncommon for a top to be missing or for the bottom piece of a bikini-like suit to be tiny or almost non-existent. A certain amount of skin is to be expected when it comes to the Rio Carnival women that perform in the main parades at the Sambadrome so this is not exactly a family attraction.

Should you be enjoying a Rio de Janeiro family vacation, you can avoid the Sambadrome parades and take part in the various neighborhood festivities if you prefer. The costumes that Rio Carnival girls wear during the street festival parades are usually less provocative. You might also look to add the Children's Samba Schools Parade to your itinerary if you are enjoying a family vacation in Rio during Carnival time. This parade takes place on the Friday before Fat Tuesday at the Sambadome and features kids from various samba schools. Carnival is very much a liberal event, so you never know what you might see when it comes to the parades and street festivals, even when it comes to the men. Keeping an open mind is the way to go.

Image: nateClicks (flickr)

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